Universities in Warsaw, Gliwice and Krakow have installed CC-Link open fieldbus automation for use by engineering undergraduates and post-graduates.
Three of Poland's leading universities have installed over EUR25,000 worth of CC-Link open fieldbus automation as part of a drive to ensure that the next generation of engineers are fully conversant with state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies.
Much of the equipment was donated by members of the CLPA (CC-Link Partners Association). It will be used by both undergraduates on general engineering and production courses and postgraduates studying robotics and automation in greater detail.
The recipient universities were Warsaw, Gliwice and Krakow. In Krakow alone there are about 150 students undertaking full-time general automation studies and another 30 extramural students of automation and robotics who will all use this equipment. Typical classes are groups of 15, with each student averaging around 30 hours of hands-on fieldbus network training per semester.
Polish universities have only been teaching automation for about 15 years. Prior to the 1990s few PLCs were used in the country's industrial base, so educationalists concentrated on more traditional disciplines. However, since then, change has been rapid and there is now a thirst to ensure that Poland and its engineers are well versed in all modern technologies.
Steve Jones, UK General Manager of CLPA Europe, explains: "Some of the first PLCs into Poland were Mitsubishi. I do not know if this was by chance or design, but it meant the country learned on Japanese equipment, which became a de facto favourite. Over the years more and more equipment was installed as the manufacturing base automated, much of this resulting from direct investment from Japan and Asia."
It was therefore natural that, when Poland started adopting Open communications technologies, the country's engineers would look to Japan for a lead. CC-Link is popular in Japan, and also in China and throughout Asia.
Professors at Polish universities had no hesitation in selecting CC-Link for their open communications training programmes, given their appreciation of Poland's need to export, and the trend towards manufacturing and machine building taking place in the Far East.
Jones says: "People who use CC-Link have a natural advantage when it come to doing business in Asia, and that is increasingly tantamount to saying they have an advantage across the whole world."